Live Review: Death Cab For Cutie at the Hammersmith Apollo

On Wednesday 16th November, Death Cab For Cutie played host to the Hammersmith Apollo as part of their Codes and Keys tour.

Although the band were promoting their seventh album which launched in May, throughout the night they drew on some of their better known tracks from such albums as Transatlanticism (2003), Plans (2005), and Narrow Stairs (2008).

To my delight, many of the tracks happened to be my most memory-fuelled songs from over six years ago, such as Crooked Teeth, A Lack of Colour and Brothers on a Hotel Bed. It is undeniable that the lure of this band is that most fans of the band can lay claim to having their own Death Cab song.

The songs were tweaked to precision, but then again this is a group that has had a long time to perfect them. The band formed in 1997.

Death Cab For Cutie are experts in the beauty of misery. Nonetheless, their latest album, ‘Codes and Keys’ is seen as a reflection of a happier period that came out of Gibbard’s relationship with actress Zooey Deschanel. But despite the fact Gibbard’s relationship with Deschanel ended in tatters last month the singer was emotionally energetic; any sorrow has charged the songs in a positive way that re-inforced what the songs were about in the first place. Throughout an evening of consistently beautifully delivered tracks, there were some surprises. The night was punctuated with a few unexpected but incredibly charismatic instrumental masterpieces such as a 10 minute electric rendition of We Looked like Giants.  

Death Cab put an end to the evening with a graceful yet haunting performance of the iconic I Will Follow You into the Dark, which it saved for the encore. It had a hypnotic force, pulling everyone together for a mass sing-along so that you could barely hear Gibbard’s solo acoustic for all the singing in the crowd.

The show closed with the full eight-minute version of Transatlanticism, a reminder of Death Cab at their sorrowful best, as the refrain “I need you so much closer” reverberated around the Apollo.

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